Reprinted with permission.
It’s 2022. Most pharmacies, no matter their size, have patient messaging software of one sort or another. Everyone sends text messages, makes refill reminder calls, and deploys an IVR. But patient engagement is more than just outbound communication. An effective patient engagement strategy for your pharmacy revolves around
bi-directional connections that strengthen your presence in the community.
What is patient engagement and patient engagement strategy?
Simply put, patient engagement is communication that establishes a rapport, deep mutual understanding, and an inviting, favorable environment between the pharmacy and its patients. An effective patient engagement strategy deploys smart, automated tactics to reach patients at the right time in the right place via the right platforms.
Why does your pharmacy need a patient engagement solution? That depends on your goals. Are you trying to drive prescription refills and adherence? If you’re a hospital pharmacy, are you trying to go from First Fill to Refills™? Are you seeking to decrease operational burdens on your pharmacy staff so they’re free to offer clinical services? Are you ready to drive clinical service opportunities? Each of these goals can be accomplished through best-in-class patient engagement. It requires your patient engagement solution to be intelligent, flexible, and secure enough to drive a winning strategy. But did you know there’s even more to the story?
3 Unexpected Impacts of an Awesome Patient Engagement Plan
- A behind-the-scenes right hand
- Creates companion revenue opportunities
- Expands your reach beyond your four walls
A Second Right Hand
Did you know that a patient engagement strategy can act as the employee you didn’t know you were missing? Gone are the days of an IVR that still requires the pharmacists to do much of the work. A fully automated patient engagement platform acts as an operational admin, taking the refill request and coordinating with your PMS to submit the orders. Intelligent automation turns simple patient messages into end-to-end refill solutions. When repeatable operational tasks efficiently take care of themselves, pharmacy staff becomes free to be pharmacists, technicians, and cashiers. Human-to-human services take center stage, rather than answering phones and tracking down patients to keep adherence numbers within range.
Create Companion Opportunities
Through patient engagement, as you work on building relationships with your patients, you don’t have to (and shouldn’t!) ignore revenue opportunities. In fact, relevant and timely messaging related to your patient’s needs accomplishes both goals. Your patient feels valued and understood by their provider (that’s you) and a companion opportunity is identified. Whether it is a vaccine that makes sense based on the patient’s age, such as Shingrix, or a DSME program for a recently diagnosed diabetic patient. Smart patient messaging identifies an opportunity to reach your patient outside the four walls of the pharmacy and ensures the patient receives the communication in a way that works for them, and a way that engages them.
It’s key that companion services maintain the personalization mentioned above. If your pharmacy sends a non-diabetic patient information about DSME, not only will the message fall flat, but it can also take away from the relationship you’re attempting to build. Don’t settle for half-baked methods, make the investment to get it right.
Break Down Barriers
Go, go gadget reach! Effective patient engagement plans recognize the four walls of your pharmacy may be a barrier to growth, and your long-term goals. Your location may not be ideal. Or maybe your parking situation is inconvenient. How does patient engagement help? Reaching your patients how they want, where they want, and when they want. When your messaging reaches them on their couch, out of sight becomes top of mind.
But we just said patient engagement isn’t patient messaging, right? The key to upgrading your messaging to a true engagement strategy is the intelligent, human-based machine learning. Don’t just text your patients that their refill is ready. A strong patient engagement strategy goes outside of the messaging itself to develop technology that adapts to what your patients need in the moment.
Patient Engagement Strategies Work
We know patient engagement gets patients in the door to pick up refills. We’ve seen the results.
But true patient engagement goes further than refills. By committing to patient engagement over simple patient communication, you’re setting yourself up to be your patient’s first choice when it comes to healthcare decisions.
So, what are you waiting for?Tell Me More